Between Orality and Literature: The Alida Folktale in Ellen Ombre’s Short Fiction “Fragments”

in Sonic Interventions
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Between Orality and Literature: The Alida Folktale in Ellen Ombre’s Short Fiction “Fragments”

This essay explores sound and subject formation through orality in the case of a Surinamese folktale. It examines through different historical periods, from pre-independent Surinam to post independence, and various mediums, such as radio, theater, and print, how communal and national affiliations are achieved. Questions of identifications through sound, in terms of the cross-cultural and the transnational, are raised as a result of how the folktale travels from Surinam to the Netherlands. The meaning and importance of the folktale, its strategic deployment at home and abroad, are explored here. The latter half of the essay concentrates on the ways sound is captured in literature with an analysis of a short story, written by a Surinamese migrant writer, Ellen Ombre, in which the tale appears in print. The story was part of a collection that was published in the Netherlands during the postcolonial era.

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